Long Johns Conceal Love (for Bobby)

“Long johns, my friend, we need to put them on to stave the cold”
It feels colder these days than when as kids we built snowmen,
Rode our flexible flyer down the hill, brave and reckless, laughing.
We wake in the morning with stiff fingers and an unusual chill: 40?
New England would laugh a collective laugh at our need for layers.
Yet, here we are, in our pit, in our mire, seeking rock for our feet,
Fingers numb to the bone, the pain we feel hard to diagnose, known
Inside our souls, yet we only share part of the details, what our shame
Forgets to hide as we try and abate our shivering flesh, ripped away
From the bones that once held us upright and strong as we climbed
Back up the hill once our laughter filled the valley of drifted snow.
Are we far from those teenagers now? Without conviction I say yes.
Yet, the 17 year old looks down on me in my wasted state of weakness
And knows he is already the better man and turns to his mother to say
“I will be edgy and cool without a diploma.” “We have to watch over her.”
He doesn’t know about long johns or laughter in the snow drift valley.
The blades of the flexible flyer have rusted. My sins have overcome me.
I have become poor and needy, and look up to this little Lord, help me
Do not delay your thoughts, chill climbing my bones needs a blanket.
Do not conceal your love, cover me up, so that all might see mercy.

I believe this was a collaboration between me and Christine Ray, or maybe it was just something she said that prompted this piece, either way. She deserves her usual credit for her faith in me, for her faith in my words, and for just being a general Badass.

Spend some time with her and her amazing network of beautiful writers!
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The Path My Feet Must Follow

Image: Vineyards and Snow, by Julian Merrow-Smith
Postcard from Provence: a daily painting blog, fresh daily since 2005

beLonging

We all belong somewhere

I stumble (slip) along a slope
up the mountain I built
but cannot climb
I sit, defeated, until
the silence speaks to me:

“escape to the world within
to stories of romance and adventure
set in the forest behind your house
Ivanhoe and Rowena will come to life and
Peter chase the white witch through Narnia”

I hear the dreams in my head
and weave them into the quilt of a smile
to warm me when winter words chill.
Out of the cold around my soul
and the whispered stories of silence
I design a home.

I belong.

Originally published in The Powhatan Review, Norfolk, VA 2006(ish)